The Spanish feature film As Bestas about the Dutch organic farmer Martin Verfondern, who was murdered in 2010 after a conflict with his neighbours, received the César for best foreign film on Friday evening. The César is the French equivalent of the Oscar.
As Bestas is a thriller based on the story of a German naturalized Dutchman who got into a conflict with his neighbors over the proceeds of logging in the hamlet of Santoalla in northwestern Spain. After an argument that got out of hand, Verfondern was shot dead by the youngest son of those neighbours. His body and car were only found by chance years later.
So the story of the film is based on true events, but there are adjustments. For example, a French couple is central and the argument with the neighbors is about a wind farm. Earlier, As Bestas by director Rodrigo Sorogoyen had already won many awards at the Goyas, the most important Spanish film award. The film is also a great commercial success in Spain.
Earlier, our correspondent visited Verfondern’s widow, who still lives on the spot where her husband was killed:
The big winner at the Césars was the Franco-Belgian production La Nuit du 12, about a murder case of a young woman in the French Alps. Investigators fail to identify the perpetrator. The film received six awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.
The ceremony was graced with a surprise performance by Hollywood star Brad Pitt, who paid tribute to director David Fincher, who won an honorary César award. The two have collaborated on several films.
- Rain of prizes for Spanish film about murder of Dutchman
- Thirteen years after the murder of organic farmer Martin, his story is a Spanish cinema hit